Is The New Maserati Levante An Improvement Over The Kubang Concept?

After being previewed by a concept five years ago, Maserati’s SUV has finally put an end to the tons of speculative renderings by unveiling the Levante.

Compared to the Kubang, the study that put the “Maserati SUV” idea into practice for the first time in the company’s history, the Levante appears to be a chiseled luxurious alternative to a high-end limousine instead of a glorified crossover-looking automobile governed by the trident badge.

Just like the Bentayga, the Levante exhales exclusivity with its imposing design language, while still sporting some style cues introduced by the Kubang. Although the latter was a big brute in its own right, the egg-shaped proportions unfortunately didn’t do it any justice, making it look much smaller than it was. The blackened/plastic rear bumper, front lip and fender sills didn’t help either, giving it a cheap appearance that couldn’t fit in the (hypothetical) segment it was intended for.

The Levante, on the other hand, fixed all the Kubang’s shortcomings, becoming Maserati’s new daring proposition for the motoring world.

From a visual standpoint, the new production automobile received an elongated, flatter hood and an interior cell pushed towards the rear. The roofline remained reminiscent of the Kubang, with its slope forming a coupe-style body; although the Levante’s take on the matter is clearly much more diluted, probably to leave more headroom for the rear passengers.

The sculpted rear hatch, although inclined, doesn’t seem to be as radical as the Kubang’s, while the vehicle’s hips (rear quarter panels) appeared to have become a much more insignificant part of the overall design, shrinking in length.

Which brings us to their behinds; the sculpted Kubang, ironically, has a cleaner approach, completely different taillights and a subtle spoiler, while the Levante appears to have lost most of the Italian flair, adopting a more generic look that could very well belong to, say, an Infiniti. To put it simply, the two cars are nothing alike when admiring their derriere.

Move to the front of the Levante and the similarities with the Kubang become obvious. The enormous iconic Maserati grille reigns on the entire front fascia, while the headlights are clearly inspired from the 2011 concept (even though there are notable differences between them). Due to its redesigned, aggressive front end, the Levante sports multiple design cues “borrowed” from the Ghibli as well; the light clusters are slant, unlike the concept’s larger units.

The fundamental issue with a Maserati SUV, whether we’re talking about the Levante or the Kubang, is that the Italian car manufacturer’s die-hard fans will probably have a hard time getting to grips with the idea.

On the other hand, they’d better hope it “pulls a Cayenne” and brings in the money so that the company can go on building the sports cars they love so much. Like the Alfieri, for example, that has been pushed back again for… God knows when.


  • Kash

    In the front, no, the Kubang was much more SUV like, but at the rear it’s a tie of which is worse and I’d say the Levante is.

  • Tumbi Mtika

    But some views make it hard to decide (he says sarcastically). How about I get a Cayenne Turbo and we call it even. Sound good?

    • Markey

      The levante looks much nicer than the Cayenne.

      As probably do most of its drivers… (sarc)

  • chippers

    Pep Boys agrees that fender vents will never go out of style.

    • europeon

      Those fender vents are something Maserati brought to the car industry. The fact that Pep Boys made them look tacky, doesn’t makes them less classy on a Maserati – unless you’re a dumb ‘merican.

  • Gustavo Adriano

    The Kubang was so much more elegant… The tailights of the first one was very futuristic before the Levantes’s, even the wheels are better. Maserati made a mistake on put a sleeker front in a SUV format.

  • Classic Bob

    Forgetting that the first Kubang concept showed up 13 years ago, not 5..

  • Bananarama

    I like the front on the Levante more (minus the horrible fog lamps) and the DLO is much better. But the rear is leagues letter on the Kubang as well as the surface detailing all around. Production version comes off budget-looking because of this.

  • MultiKdizzle

    It’s a massive letdown compared to the concept, that’s what it is.

    • Six_Tymes

      I agree. The Kubang had the IT factor from every angle. Way more distinctive details that worked well with each other.

  • TheBelltower

    The lukewarm response to the concept would have been a good sign to scrap the entire design theme. From the A-pillar rearward, it could be a Kia or Hyundai. Neither the front or the rear are strong designs.

  • Matt

    The Kubang hasn’t aged that well and looks as though it was rushed.

    The rear of the Kubang is still more distinctive than the Levante, but perhaps not necessarily better.

  • Craig

    It’s a very nice Buick. [and I’m not sure if that’s an insult – or not]

  • c3vzn

    Levante looks better resolved.

  • Bo Hanan

    Show cars are always more idealistic than reality will allow- having said that, I don’t see anything on the show car that couldn’t/shouldn’t have made it to the production model. And the round fog lights (however fun they might be) are from the 80’s. NO highend SUV should have foglights today. Especially with current head-light technology that’s available. The foglights cheapen the car IMHO.

  • short answer, NO … but neither is great for different reasons.

  • Bob White

    Just another 2 box design.

  • Dan Facciolo

    Levante is a better name…but that’s about it.

  • Braddo

    Whichever – they both don’t look like a Maserati – Hyundai maybe, but not Maserati.
    I think its a very weak poor design overall on both the concept and production model. It screams cheap.